About the Minor
2017 - 2018 Catalog
Poverty and Human Capability Studies minor
A minor in poverty and human capability studies requires completion of seven courses as follows. In meeting the requirements of this interdisciplinary minor, a student must use at least nine credits not also used to meet the requirements of any other major or minor.
- POV 101 or 103
- POV 450 or 453
- At least 10 credits (9 credits for those completing POV 103) chosen from among the following:
ECON 229, 234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 280; EDUC 369; ENGL 260; HIST 271, 354; JOUR 241; PHIL 242; POL 215; POV 102, 241, 243 (PHIL 243), 245 (PHIL 245), 295 (LAW 221), 296; PSYC 235; SOAN 186 (ECON 186), 202, 228, 266, 268 (POL 268), 278, 288, 290; approved independent-study courses that focus on poverty and human capability; or other course offerings ("related courses" on the Shepherd website) that provide students substantial opportunity to address poverty and human capability (e.g., through a major project on a poverty-related topic). These "related courses" must be approved in advance by the director of the Shepherd Program and the course instructor.
- A capstone study that culminates in a major research paper on a topic proposed by the student that focuses on poverty and human capability. This course will typically be POV 423. It may be an independent study, senior thesis, honors thesis, or WGS 396, when the research projects fit the criteria above and are co-advised by Shepherd Program faculty. These substitute courses must be approved in advance by the director of the Shepherd Program and by the participating instructors.
- Take one course from:
- POV 101 - Poverty and Human Capability: An Interdisciplinary Introduction
An exploration of the nature, scope, causes, effects and possible remedies for poverty as a social, moral, political and policy, economic, legal, psychological, religious, and biological problem. The course focuses on domestic poverty but also considers poverty as a global problem.
POV 101A: FS: Poverty and Human Capability: An Interdisciplinary Introduction (3). First-Year seminar.
- POV 103 - Poverty and Human Capability: An Interdisciplinary Introduction and Fieldwork
Students may not take for degree credit both this course and POV 101 and 102. An exploration of the nature, scope, causes, effects, and possible remedies for poverty as a social, moral, political and policy, economic, legal, psychological, religious, and biological problem. The course focuses on domestic poverty in the United States but also considers poverty as a global problem. This spring term version of the course integrates service fieldwork into the introductory course taught in the fall and winter and offers the same credit as POV 101 and 102 combined.
POV 450 or 453
- POV 450 - Shepherd Summer Internship
Eight-week summer internship working with individuals and communities. Supervised work with agencies in business and economic development, community organizing, education, environmental advocacy, health care, law, religious ministry, and social services that engage impoverished persons and communities. Eight weeks of full-time work is preceded by an orientation to prepare the interns to reflect critically on what they have learned. W&L students work with students from other participating colleges. Students keep journals reflecting on their work. Financial support is available; in rare instances the Shepherd Program director may approve other internship programs to meet this requirement, but approval must be in advance with special conditions and stipulations.
- POV 453 - Shepherd Summer Internship
Eight-week summer internship working with individuals and communities. Supervised work with agencies in business and economic development, community organizing, education, environmental advocacy, health care, law, religious ministry, and social services that engage impoverished persons and communities. Eight weeks of full-time work is preceded by an orientation to prepare the interns and followed by a closing conference for interns to reflect critically on what they have learned. W&L students work with students from other participating colleges. Students keep journals reflecting on their work. Financial support is available; in rare instances the Shepherd Program director may approve other internship programs to meet this requirement, but approval must be in advance with special conditions and stipulations. This course may not be repeated, but students who complete POV 453 may apply for a different second internship and receive recognition without credit for POV 450.
- ECON 229 - Urban Economics
A study of the economics of cities. Students discuss why cities exist, what determines city growth, and how firms make city location decisions. We then shift our focus to within-city location decisions, and we discuss land-use patterns, housing, and neighborhoods. Our discussion of housing and neighborhoods focus on a number of issues related to urban poverty, including the effects of segregation and housing policies on the poor.
- ECON 234 - Urban Education: Poverty, Ethnicity and Policy
Students explore the determinants of education achievement and attainment in urban education through three weeks of fieldwork in schools in the Richmond area (Monday through Thursday each week) and seminar meetings in Lexington. Students observe and work to understand critical components of teaching and learning in the urban classroom. The readings and experience challenge students to consider factors including early childhood development, the role of the family, school finance, teachers, and curriculum. The students then evaluate the current policy proposals for school reform in the United States such as teacher merit pay, charter schools, and student accountability. In addition, students develop and present their own policy proposal for improving public schools. Housing is provided through alumni in Richmond.
- ECON 235 - The Economics of Social Issues
This seminar is based on readings that set out hypotheses developed by economists and other social scientists regarding the causes and consequences of a wide range of social problems. Evidence examining the validity of these hypotheses is scrutinized and evaluated. The course is writing intensive and interdisciplinary since readings are drawn from a wide variety of fields. Topics discussed include, but are not limited to, poverty, education, health, crime, race, ethnicity, immigration, and fiscal matters.
- ECON 236 - Economics of Education
Investigation of the role of education on outcomes for both nations and individuals. Understanding of the factors in the education production function. Emphasis on the challenges of pre-K-12 education in the United States; secondary coverage of postsecondary education. Analysis of the effect of existing policies and potential reforms on the achievement and opportunities available to poor and minority students.
- ECON 237 - Health Economics
An overview of the determinants of health using standard microeconomic models to analyze individual behavior, markets, institutions, and policies that influence health and health care. The primary focus of the course is the United States but also includes comparisons to health systems in other developed countries and very limited coverage of developing countries. Particular emphasis is given to challenges faced by disadvantaged groups. The course includes an optional service-learning component with placements involving health issues and/or health care services in Rockbridge County.
- ECON 238 - Poverty and Inequality in the United States
This course takes an economic approach toward investigating recent trends in poverty and inequality in the U.S., focusing on evaluating alternative explanations for who becomes (or remains) poor in this country. Factors considered in this investigation include labor-market trends, educational opportunities, family background, racial discrimination, and neighborhood effects. Aspects of public policy designed to alleviate poverty are discussed, as well as its failures and successes.
- EDUC 369 - Urban Education and Poverty
Not open to students with credit for ECON 234. In this course, students explore pedagogy, curriculum, and social issues related to urban education by working in schools in the Richmond area for three weeks. Students read about and discuss the broader social and economic forces, particularly poverty, that have shaped urban schools and the ramifications of those forces for school design. The Richmond schools provide the opportunity to observe critical components of teaching and learning in the urban classroom. Housing is provided with alumni during the week. Students return to Lexington for Friday seminars and for the fourth week of the term for seminars and discussion.
- ENGL 260 - Literary Approaches to Poverty
Examines literary responses to the experience of poverty, imaginative representations of human life in straitened circumstances, and arguments about the causes and consequences of poverty that appear in literature. Critical consideration of dominant paradigms ("the country and the city," "the deserving poor," "the two nations," "from rags to riches," "the fallen woman," "the abyss") augments reading based in cultural contexts. Historical focus will vary according to professor's areas of interest and expertise.
- HIST 271 - Profit and Prophecy in Islamic History
The Islamic financial sector is currently valued at over $1.6 trillion in assets. But what has been the historical relationship between Islam and economies of wealth? This discussion-intensive course engages the ideals and realities of Islamic commerce from the 7th century, in which Muhammad was reported to have been a merchant, to issues of Islam and capitalism in the modern and globalized world. Through social and intellectual historical inquiry, students investigate a range of themes including: poverty and charity, economic justice and the regulation of merchant capitalism, gender and inheritance, jihad and taxation of non-Muslims, and mystical traditions that reject worldly gain. Students learn to take a source-critical approach to primary Islamic writings in translation, including prophetic literature and legal commentaries, while being sensitive to issues in historiography. Prior knowledge of Islam or Islamic history is not required.
- HIST 354 - Seminar: The History of the American Welfare State
This course surveys the history of the U.S. welfare state from its origins in the poorhouses of the nineteenth century to the "end of welfare as we knew it" in 1996. The historical development of the American welfare state is covered, touching on such key policy developments as Progressive Era mothers' pension programs, the Social Security Act of 1935, Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, and the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act. Although this course focuses primarily on the United States, students are also asked to compare the U.S. case with the welfare states of other western democracies - including Great Britain, France and the Scandinavian nations - to understand how and why the United States took such a different path. Moving beyond simple policy history, students engage such questions as how the U.S. welfare state has reflected, reinforced, and in some cases produced class, racial, and gendered identities.
- JOUR 241 - Media and Poverty: The Poor in Journalism and Film
This course offers an in-depth examination of portrayals of poverty, chiefly in the United States, from the late 19th century to the present through an intensive review of distinguished print journalism, nonfiction books, documentary film, and movies. By consulting social science literature as well, students gain a deeper understanding of the various conceptual paradigms through which poverty has been understood and explained.
- PHIL 242 - Social Inequality and Fair Opportunity
An exploration of the different range of opportunities available to various social groups, including racial, ethnic and sexual minorities, women, and the poor. Topics include how to define fair equality of opportunity; the social mechanisms that play a role in expanding and limiting opportunity; legal and group-initiated strategies aimed at effecting fair equality of opportunity and the theoretical foundations of these strategies; as well as an analysis of the concepts of equality, merit and citizenship, and their value to individuals and society.
- POL 215 - International Development
A study of international development and human capability, with a focus on Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The course analyzes theories to explain development successes and failures, with a focus on the structures, institutions, and actors that shape human societies and social change. Key questions include measuring economic growth and poverty, discussing the roles of states and markets in development, and examining the role of industrialized countries in reducing global poverty. The course explores links between politics and other social sciences and humanities.
- POV 102 - Fieldwork in Poverty and Human Capability
Sustained critical reflection on pivotal issues in poverty studies based on supervised volunteer work, journals, and weekly discussions and papers related to the readings in 101.
- POV 241 - Poverty, Ethics, and Religion
This course introduces students to some of the most influential and compelling ethical arguments (both secular and religious) about our moral obligations regarding poverty. The course also examines the benefits and challenges of doing comparative religious and philosophical ethical analysis of a pressing moral and social problem. In particular, students will consider the arguments for and against including religiously inflected arguments in public deliberation about anti-poverty policy.
- POV 243 - Martin Luther King Jr.: Poverty, Justice, and Love (PHIL 243)
This course offers students the opportunity to examine the ethics and theology that informed the public arguments about poverty made by one of the 20th century's most important social justice theorists and activists, Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the competing views of his contemporaries, critics, forebears, and heirs. The course asks the following questions, among others: How do justice and love relate to one another and to poverty reduction? What role should religion play in public discussions and policies about poverty and justice? Are the dignity and the beloved community King championed the proper goal of anti-poverty efforts?
- POV 245 - Poverty, Dignity, and Human Rights (PHIL 245)
Is severe poverty a human rights violation? This course examines that question and others by means of an investigation of the main philosophical and religious debates about human rights. More broadly, the course provides students with the opportunity to examine our duties (individually and collectively) to those said to suffer from any human rights abuse. Questions considered include: Are human rights universal or culturally specific? What (if anything) grounds human rights? Are religious justifications of rights permissible in a pluralistic world? Is dignity a useful concept for defending and/or discerning human rights? Do we only have liberty rights (to be free of mistreatment) or do we also have welfare rights (to claim certain positive treatment from others)? What are the practical (moral, political. and legal) implications of identifying severe poverty as a human rights violation?
- POV 295 - Child Abuse and Neglect Seminar (LAW 221)
This seminar examines the response of the legal system to issues of child abuse and neglect. Attempts by courts and legislators to define abuse and neglect are reviewed and critiqued. The seminar also explores the legal framework which governs state intervention to protect children from abuse and neglect. Attention is paid to both state and federal law, including the federal constitutional issues which arise in many child abuse and neglect proceedings. Issues relating to the professional responsibilities of lawyers involved in abuse and neglect proceedings are examined.
- POV 296 - Special Topics in Poverty Studies
An intensive, in-depth examination of particular thinkers, approaches, policies or debates in the field of poverty and human capability studies.
Spring 2017, POV 296-01: Special Topics in Poverty Studies: Profit and Punishment (4). Prerequisite: Instructor consent. This course is taught in a classroom at Augusta Correctional Center in Craigsville, VA. Students attend class together with prisoners who are pursuing higher education while in custody at the center. The punishment sector is large and profitable. This includes not just private prisons but also accessory services such as telephone and commissary services in prisons and jails, contracts for correctional medicine and transportation, and private bail and probation companies. Students in this course examine how the carceral apparatus, which impoverishes so many, simultaneously generates substantial market benefits. We analyze individual companies (Global Tel Link, Corizon, Securus, Geo, etc.) ethically and economically and consider related business-ethics topics such as prison labor and lethal-injection drug manufacturing. We consider whether and how market incentives can or should be removed from the punishment industry. (SS5) Brotzman.
- PSYC 235 - Effects of Poverty on Families and Children
This course explores the problem of child and family poverty, the issues it raises for psychologists and social policy makers, and the implications that poverty and social policy have for children's development. This class explores how children's perceptions of the world, or their place in it, are affected by economically stressed families.
- SOAN 186 - Land in Lakota Culture, Economics, and History (ECON 186)
A review of the history of Lakota land from 1851 to present and its importance to Lakota cultural identity, political sovereignty, and economic development. We examine specific federal policies including the treaties of 1851 and 1868, the extermination of the buffalo herds, the confiscation of the Black Hills, the creation of the reservation system, and the Dawes Act among others. Students spend nine days off-campus to participate in workshops at the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies and to visit sites in and around the Pine Ridge Reservation, the Rosebud reservation, and the Black Hills.
- SOAN 202 - Contemporary Social Problems
A study of the relationship of social problems to the cultural life and social structure of American society. An analysis of the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to selected social problems in American society.
- SOAN 228 - Race and Ethnic Relations
An analysis of minority groups in America. Theories of ethnicity are examined focusing on the relationship between class and ethnicity, and on the possible social and biological significance of racial differences. Attention is also given to prejudice and discrimination, as well as to consideration of minority strategies to bring about change.
- SOAN 266 - Neighborhoods, Culture, and Poverty
This course examines social-scientific research on the determinants of poverty, crime, and ill health by focusing on neighborhoods as the sites where many of the mechanisms impacting these outcomes operate. In addition to engaging with key readings and participating in seminar discussions, students conduct their own exploratory analyses of neighborhood level processes using a variety of spatial data analysis tools in R.
- SOAN 268 - Migration, Identity, and Conflict (POL 268)
This course focuses on the complex relationship between migration, political institutions, group identities, and inter-group conflict. The course is a hybrid of a seminar and research lab in which students (a) read some of the key social-scientific literature on these subjects, and (b) conduct team-based research making use of existing survey data about the integration of migrant populations into various polities.
- SOAN 288 - Childhood
This course explores the experience of childhood cross culturally, investigating how different societies conceptualize what it means to be a child. Our readings progress through representations of the lifecycle, starting with a discussion of conception, and moving through issues pertaining to the fetus, infants, children, and adolescents. We discuss socialization, discipline, emotion, education, gender, and sexuality, with special attention given to the effects of war, poverty, social inequality, and disease on children and youth.
- SOAN 278 - Health and Inequality: An Introduction to Medical Sociology
This course introduces sociological perspetivies of health and illness. Students examine topics such as social organization of medicine; the social construction of illness; class, race and gender inequalities in health; and health care reform. Some of the questions we address: How is the medical profession changing? What are the pros and cons of market-driven medicine? Does class have an enduring impact on health outcomes? Is it true that we are what our friends' eat? Can unconscious racial bias affect the quality of care for people of different ethnicities? What pitfalls have affected the way evidence-based medicine has been carried out?
- SOAN 290 - Special Topics in Sociology
Credits: 3 in Fall or Winter, 4 in Spring
A discussion of a series of topics of sociological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.
Spring 2017, SOAN 290-01: Health and Inequality: An Introduction to Medical Sociology (4). No prerequisite, but SOAN 102 is recommended. An introduction to sociological perspectives of health and illness, with an underlying premise that social factors, not just biological ones, influence health outcomes. We examine diverse topics such as the social organization of medicine, inequalities in health, and health care reform. In each topic, we always consider health, medicine/medical care, and illness as social phenomena. We focus on how the structure of our everyday environments can affect our health-both through macro-level institutions, such as how we shape our health care system impacts the delivery of care, to micro-level interactions, such as how doctor-patient interactions may vary with socioeconomic status, gender, race/ethnicity, and nationality. In doing so, we consider the social organization of health, illness and medicine that go beyond differential access to medical care. Some of the questions we address include: How is the medical profession changing? What are the pros and cons of market-driven medicine? Does class have an enduring impact on health outcomes? Is it true that we are what our friends eat? Can unconscious racial biases affect the quality of care for people of different ethnicities? Chin.
Fall 2017, SOAN 290A-01: Adolescence Under the Microscope (3). In this seminar, students and faculty participate collaboratively to learn about adolescence through the lenses of psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Insights from these disciplines are employed to explicate the adolescent experience in the United States in contrast to other societies. As part of this analysis, we focus on the impact of the extended period of adolescence in our society, currently known as "emerging adulthood." Questions addressed include: In what ways is individual identity dependent on a specific society? Why is identity in adolescence more or less ambivalent and ambiguous in different societies? What impact do these differences have on self-confidence, the willingness to venture beyond the comfort zone of the predictable self, and on internal and external conflicts regarding a sense of self as a child versus an adult (e.g., girl-woman, boy-man)? The adolescent period of development is explored in detail primarily through gender, parent/adolescent, and peer relations. D. Novack and L. Novack.
- or approved independent-study courses that focus on poverty and human capability; or other course offerings ("related courses" on the Shepherd website) that provide students substantial opportunity to address poverty and human capability (e.g., through a major project on a poverty-related topic). These "related courses" must be approved in advance by the director of the Shepherd Program and the course instructor.
- POV 423 - Poverty and Human Capability: A Research Seminar
An inquiry into principal factors or agents responsible for the causes, effects, and remedies of poverty. This examination is conducted through reading appropriate in-depth studies from various disciplines and perspectives, and it culminates with an independent research project into specific aspects of poverty drawing on students' internships and respective areas of study and looking forward to their professional work and civic engagement. This seminar serves as a capstone for undergraduate poverty studies and includes second- and third-year law students in Law 391.
- It may be an independent study, senior thesis, honors thesis, or:
- WGSS 396 - Advanced Seminar in Women's and Gender Studies
This course provides an opportunity for advanced students to explore in detail some aspect of women's studies. Specific topics may vary and may be determined, in part, by student interest. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.
- when the research projects fit the criteria above and are co-advised by Shepherd Program faculty. These substitute courses must be approved in advance by the director of the Shepherd Program and by the participating instructors.